Climate group 350 Santa Barbara held a candlelight vigil on Nov. 26 at De la Guerra Plaza followed by a silent walk to Stearns Wharf to honor victims of Typhoon Haiyan, a category 5 “super storm” that struck the Philippines last month.
The slightly out-of-season and unusually intense storm is estimated to have killed 10,000 people and displaced 14 million people.
Climate change educator Katie Davis played a recording of the speech that Yeb Saño, lead climate negotiator from the Philippines, delivered to the United Nations climate talks. He called Haiyan a “climate nightmare” and urged international leaders to take drastic actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Last week, MIT climate scientist Kerry Emanuel and colleagues ran a computer model they use to forecast the wind speeds in a storm like Haiyan and ran it with the climate conditions that were present in the 1980s, before the warming of the last few decades. They concluded that the thermal conditions of 30 years ago would have produced a typhoon 30 to 40 percent less destructive.
Currently the world has an atmospheric concentration of 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide — the primary gas responsible for the global trend in warming since the industrial revolution. Scientists agree that 350 parts per million is the safe upper limit of carbon dioxide. In order for us to prevent more intense wildfires, droughts and storms like Haiyan, Katrina and Sandy, we we must cut carbon emissions down to this level.
350 Santa Barbara is a volunteer organized, autonomous local chapter of 350.org. Click here for more information.
— Max Golding represents 350 Santa Barbara.